There is more to your credit card payment due date than you may realize. Kristin Wong explains three things to keep in mind
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You can put just about anything on a credit card. New pair of shoes? Charge ’em! Drinks after work? Let your old buddy Mr. Plastic pick up the tab.
But you have to pay the bill sooner or later. And that’s why your credit card due date matters. It’s the monthly date when a minimum payment must be made on your credit card account. If not, you’ll rack up late fees, and on top of interest, that makes those drinks really expensive.
You may think you have due dates figured out, but here are a few important things to know about them.
1. You may be able to set your own due date.
Some credit card issuers let you set your own due date, which is convenient for budgeting. Let’s say your bill is due on the 28th, and rent is due on the first. Paying both of those at once might drain your finances for the month. You can ask your card issuer to change your due date to a more convenient time. Some will even let you do it online.
2. If your due date is on the weekend, you may get a break.
Thanks to the Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility and Disclosure Act of 2009, if your bill’s due date falls on a nonbusiness day, such as a weekend or bank holiday, and the bank doesn’t process payments on that day, your deadline will extend to the next business day. Check with your credit card company, though, because some do process payments on weekends and holidays.
3. Check the cutoff time for payment on your due date.
The law says your due date must be on the same day every month. But timing matters. Credit card companies have different cutoff times for bill payments. This means your payment must be received by a certain hour on its due date, otherwise you’re late. Maybe the cutoff is 11 p.m. Eastern; maybe it’s 8 p.m Pacific time. It all depends on the card issuer. The CARD Act does, however, require issuers to set the time for 5 p.m. or later, in the time zone in which its payments are processed.
The CARD Act also fixed the amount of days you have to make a payment. Before 2009, the grace period was whatever the card issuer decided to make it. Now, the law says you have to have at least 21 days to make that payment.
Credit card due dates are a little more complicated than they seem. But knowing how they work will help you better manage your payments.